HE Adama Barrow, President of the Gambia, leaving for the Meet The People’s tour.
By Fatou Sillah
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President Adama Barrow has expressed his condolences to families who lost their children in the perilous journey through the “Back way” to Europe. In a joint meeting with communities in Lower Niumi, Upper Niumi, and Jokadou Constituencies in Pakau Njogu, President Barrow acknowledged the tragic loss of lives and emphasized the need to find ways to prevent such incidents.
The president urged the youth to refrain from undertaking the risky backway journey to Europe and instead encouraged them to collaborate with the government to explore safer routes. He highlighted the government’s efforts, citing recent discussions with Saudi Arabia to create job opportunities for Gambians.
“I am sending my condolences to the parents who lost their children in the sea on their way to Europe to help their parents, and they ended up losing their lives. This is very sad because anybody that gives birth to a child, raises him, and something like that happens to him is sad. This pains us, and we must look for ways to stop this.
“We are urging young people to stop using the Back Way journey, and work with the Government to find safe routes to Europe. The government is doing a lot. When I went to Saudi Arabia a week ago, I had discussions with the government of Saudi, we signed a document for workers to leave The Gambia to Saudi. We already signed the document, and we are now inviting our minister to have discussions with them,” The president said.
President Barrow revealed that Saudi Arabia is seeking up to 12 million workers, and due to the relatively small number of Gambians currently working there, they are prioritizing opportunities for Gambian workers. He emphasized that the government is working to facilitate the process, ensuring that both skilled and unskilled individuals, including those with an English education background, have the opportunity to work in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudis are looking for up to 12 million workers, and What they say is that they have a lot of other nationalities working there. Since we have fewer Gambians there, they will now give Gambians the opportunity, I believe this is good news. That is why we are doing our plans to help the People and protect them because that is part of my job to protect the people. The youth that have skills will be taken and the ones that don’t have skills will also be taken, the ones that went to English school and are working in offices are also part of the ones that will be given the opportunity to go to Saudi,” He said.
In addition to providing economic opportunities abroad, President Barrow called for a collective effort from elders, parents, and women to engage in dialogue with the youth. The aim is to encourage them to pursue safer routes and better employment prospects, aligning with the government’s commitment to protecting its citizens.